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On August 29, Agropur's Chief Executive Officer, Pierre Claprood, the President of the Borough of Saint-Hubert, Stéphane Desjardins, the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Yvon Vallières, the MNA for Vachon, Camil Bouchard, and Agropur's Chairman, Serge Riendeau, took part in the ground breaking ceremony marking the beginning of work on the new storage and distribution centre for Agropur's two cheese divisions, the administrative offices of the Fine Cheese Division and the research and development centre.
Longueuil, Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - Agropur cooperative will build a storage and distribution centre combining the warehousing activities of its two cheese divisions, administrative Offices, and a research and development facility in Longueuil, thereby making it the organization's main place of business. This announcement was made today by Agropur's Chairman, Serge Riendeau, and Chief Executive Officer, Pierre Claprood, in the presence of the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, minister responsible for the Central Quebec region and MNA for Richmond, Yvon Vallières, the MNA for Vachon, Camil Bouchard, and the President of the Borough of Saint-Hubert, Stéphane Bergeron.
"With this investment of nearly $40 million, this site will undoubtedly become Agropur's hub of cheese distribution in Canada," said Chief Executive Officer, Pierre Claprood.
Minister Yvon Vallières hailed Agropur's unique initiative. "In the context of fierce competition from the main players in the dairy product field, Agropur has developed a vision centred on innovation. Its research and development activities will definitely reinforce its leadership position and help make Quebec food processing a modern, dynamic and prosperous industry," he added.
Cheese and Ingredients
Up till now, the Cheese and Ingredients had been renting two warehouses located in Laval. However, the move was inevitable since one of the leases was to expire in December with no possibility of renewal, and the other no longer met the needs of the division.
Fine Cheese Division
For its part, the Fine Cheese Division had been grappling with a space problem, since its activities had increased substantially since it was first established in Montréal-Nord. In addition to solving this problem, the new construction project will house the division's administrative offices, also located in Montréal-Nord.
Moreover, it was imperative to meet the growth associated with the two divisions'strategic plans. Thus, the consolidation of storage activities, side by side, on the same site, will allow the organization to benefit from synergy at the supply chain level. This large-scale project also involves reviewing and improving the division's different business processes in order to enhance its distribution position, thereby contributing to the growth of the organization as a whole.
As a result, a lot of nearly one million square feet, located in the industrial park of Longueuil, was acquired by Agropur to accommodate the two new buildings and meet the Cooperative's future needs.
Research and development centre
Furthermore, in order to remain a leader in the Canadian dairy industry, Agropur has acquired high-tech research and development facilities. Equipped with modern laboratories to accelerate and increase research and development in the organization, the new research and development centre will feature a pilot plant containing the equipment necessary for recreating a production environment comparable to conventional dairy plants.
Completely dedicated to research and development, this centre represents a first in the Canadian agrifood industry and confirms Quebec as the centre of development for the country's dairy industry.
"This project will lead to the transfer of over 200 employees, currently based in Laval, Montréal-Nord and Granby, to Longueuil. As for the research and development centre, we are confident that its location on the South Shore will ensure access to a highly qualified workforce. The hiring of additional researchers should evolve according to the needs of the organization," added Mr. Claprood.
"Agropur is proud of the important role it plays in the Quebec economy. The investments announced today will have a major impact on the entire Quebec agrifood industry, in addition to placing Quebec at the forefront of the Canadian dairy industry," concluded Agropur's Chairman, Serge Riendeau.
Leader in the Canadian dairy industry, Agropur has 4,060 members, 3,900 employees, and 21 plants, as well as several offices and distribution centres, throughout the country. It processes nearly two billion litres of milk annually and offers an impressive product line, including the popular Québon, Oka, Sealtest, Yoplait, Natrel and Island Farms labels.